#GuestColumn |  Of skirts, pants and something else

#GuestColumn | Of skirts, pants and something else

– Mom: Why can’t I wear pants if it’s so cold? In addition, the children annoy us saying that our panties are showing.

– That’s the uniform. If you wear pants they won’t let you in.

Dissatisfied with my mother’s response, I asked one of my teachers the same question. Her response was even more forceful:

-Because girls wear skirts.

Its exact origin is unknown, but it is believed that the school uniform arose at the proposal of Catholic congregations settled in European countries (NGO Educo). Since its inception, the attire consisted of a skirt or jumper for girls and pants and a shirt for boys; that is, it replicated the type of clothing typically assigned according to the sex of the schoolboys.

This clothing was maintained for centuries, until in recent years educational centers in various European countries chose to implement a system of neutral uniforms according to which girls, boys and children can freely wear pants or skirts.

In Mexico, the school uniform is not mandatory (PROFECO, 2014), however it is a practice recommended by the Ministry of Public Education for our basic education since it favors equality among students regardless of their economic or social status; it gives them a sense of belonging; and, in the long term, it implies savings for the family. For this reason, it has been implemented at the national level by public institutions and has been commonly used in private schools.

As in Europe, the Mexican school uniform replicated dress codes based on stereotypes, and it was until 2019 that the Ministry of Public Education, in coordination with the authorities of Mexico City, issued the guidelines for the use of a neutral uniform. in public schools in the nation’s capital. According to this document, the authorities seek the free use of skirts or pants in basic education schools with a view to promoting equitable treatment and without discrimination, and to take a firm step towards substantive gender equality.

The state of Sonora joined this trend, which last September reformed its local law so that students can freely choose between skirts or pants. For their part, in Quintana Roo and Oaxaca legal initiatives were presented that seek to allow the neutral school uniform. While Veracruz and Tlaxcala have also joined this discussion.

In all these countries and states within the Mexican Republic, the neutral school uniform has been understood and applied differently. While for some the optional uniform is only for girls, in others it is the decision of the parents or guardians and in others it also includes minors of sexual diversity. The discussion is still open, but the bet – from the perspective of human rights – should be inclusive; that is, not only for the benefit of binary girls and women but also for girls, boys, children and adolescents of any gender, identity or sexual preference.

It is true that for a sector of our population it is unnecessary to modify the uniforms, it is even plausible for them to preserve the customs that allow boys and girls to identify and develop in a society that assigns them roles and characteristics according to their sex, since this is consistent with their traditional family style, values ​​and social organization. For this sector of the population, the decision is not a matter of rights, but of maintaining the status quo.

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